Sorry Kevin Costner, but we don’t live in a “build it and they will come” society.
Any good business owner knows that you have to do some serious marketing and relationship building if you want your company to still be around many years down the road.
And that’s why attending trade shows is great for your business. It’s a fantastic way to spread awareness about your brand and create new relationships with potential clients.
But with so many booths to visit, you’re going to have to do more than stand there and smile to get attendees to engage with you. Effectively using social media won’t just alert your current fans and customers to your presence, but also help you reach out and discover new ones.
So let’s go over how you can use your social networks to generate buzz about your booth before, during, and after your next trade show.
The first thing you need to do is to let the trade show host, convention attendees, and your current customers know that you are attending this convention.
After registering, write a quick blog post about the convention you’re planning to attend. Add some challenge questions at the bottom asking if others are going.
As usual, promote this blog post on all of the big social sharing networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.
Don’t forget to:
- RSVP to the Facebook event. Leave a post on the wall about your excitement.
- Find and use the convention’s Twitter and/or Google+ hashtag.
- Join the trade show host’s LinkedIn group.
- Create a pinboard on Pinterest of the products you’re bringing.
Don’t let clients forget you’re there. Post status updates on Facebook and Twitter letting people know that you’re at the convention. Add your booth number or relative location so attendees know where to find you.
Offer social network-only specials like “the first five people to show this status at the booth receive a free item!” You can publicize this on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, though Twitter’s fast pace may offer better results.
Don’t forget to:
- Answer any comments on your blog post.
- Check into the event on Facebook and Foursquare.
- Take photos with Instagram (tip: use the convention hashtag).
- Share photos on Tumblr, Flikr, etc. but space them out throughout the event.
- Interview attendees for a YouTube video.
- Set up a Google+ event or hangout for fans who cannot attend.
- Retweet engaging or interesting comments on Twitter.
Write a blog post (or many) about your attendance. Give thoughts, thank new customers, and use it as a central hub for your pictures and video. And again, promote it on all of the big social networks.
Do a lot of thanking, in fact. Post updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ thanking all of the new followers or fans you picked up over the course of the convention. A little gratitude will go a long way.
Don’t forget to:
- Make an album of pictures on Facebook and Google+.
- Connect with potential customers and other business owners on LinkedIn.
- Share tips from the convention in relevant LinkedIn groups.
- Edit and upload a video about the convention to YouTube.
- Upload pictures to a Pinterest pinboard that showcases your office life and/or employees.
Please note: some of these actions may require personal accounts in addition to business accounts. Not all may be applicable in all situations. And in no way am I telling you to run out and join all of these social networks before your next trade show. Utilize as many as you can handle; that can be one network, that could be five.
Do you happen to be the company or organization that’s throwing this trade show?
The best part? These actions don’t even take much time away from your trade show duties.
Always cross pollinate when you can. For example, when taking an Instagram picture, share the picture on Facebook and Twitter. Thank new customers on Google+ and include a link to your after-convention blog post.
Taking a few minutes to update your social networks could bring you a few potential clients! And you’ll never know unless you give it a try.